Today’s sugar panic is real.
It’s gotten so bad that society has been gaslit into believing that the sugar in fruit is bad, and therefore fruit is somehow bad because it contains that poisonous substance.
So what’s the deal with fruit sugar?
For starters, sugar in fruit (fructose) isn’t any different than what you’d find in candy. While their sources are unalike, your body can’t really tell.
“It could be white sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave, or high-fructose corn syrup — they’re all processed by your body in a similar way,” says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS, a registered dietitian and intuitive eating coach.
Those sugars fall into the fructose or lactose classes of the ingredient, but added sugar on the other hand, which is any sugar or sweetener that’s added to foods or drinks when they’re prepared or processed, isn’t so healthy for you.
Added sugar sneaks into a lot of foods we don’t expect, like pasta sauce, which can stimulate your appetite and muddy your body’s real hunger cues. Comparatively, natural sugars that you find in fruits are actually beneficial: it adds flavor and provides energy.
And your body needs that sugar to function, too.
“Sugar is basically the smallest unit of carbohydrates, and we need carbohydrates,” Rumsey says. “Our body and brains run on those.” Plus, fruit is rich in good-for-you nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, she says. In other words, it’s not “just a sugar bomb.”
Certain fruits that contain less natural sugar than others aren’t better for you either.
“Focusing on the grams of sugar is so pointless,” Rumsey says.
She says that the most important thing is to eat fruit that you enjoy, that tastes good to you, which means you’ll be eating more of the good stuff.
So, relax and don’t sweat the sweet stuff!
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